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RESERVED SEATING Public Typography of KU Sports Stadiums



In general, a sports stadium is thought of as a place of

boisterousness; where people come together to celebrate their breth-

So what becomes of the stadium itself when you take away the teams, the employees, and the fans? ren in athletic play.

A stadium, devoid of life, becomes not much more than a lonely friend with a road map of instructions, waiting.

The sole purpose of a stadium sign is to herd its guests

through the inner mazes. For this reason, most typography found in sports stadiums, outside of maybe advertisements, is a simple, bold, easy to read font, laid out in a very clean manner. The stadium, though it wants to be a part of the fans’ life, doesn’t want to impede on the main reason people are coming to visit it. The bulk of the stadium’s dialogue with its patrons is concise and quickly comprehensible.

The sports stadium, although built for people interaction, can be just as interesting a place by itself if one takes the time to enjoy what all the stadium has to say.


If You Build It... Hoglund Ballpark Tucked away behind the infamous Allen Fieldhouse is Hoglund Ballpark, home of the Jayhawk baseball team.Students walk passed it everyday, probably not even realizing it’s the official baseball field of the university. This could be due to the fact that the sign identifying the ballpark is located on the side of the front entrance. Once you find it though, you follow the gate (the whole thing is gated off) along the side of the field towards the main entrance and ticket office. Along the gate, various signs are posted, all in an easy to read, bold, sans-serif font, informing visitors of what they can’t bring into the park, where the alternative entrances are, and of course several “NO TRESPASSING” signs, which I ignored for the purposes of this book.


Most fascia

lettering is used as a way to

identify a building or location, but at Hoglund Ballpark, the facade is devoid of such signage. Instead, the identifying siagnage is on the side of the entrance; albeit a bold, easy to read, sans-serif in black, against a white background, but seems almost pointless in location.

Outside the main entrance of the ballpark. The name “Hoglund Ballpark� is actually on the side of the facade, not the front.

FASCIA LETTERING: any kind of temporary lettering applied to a building. Usually for subsequent naming by sequential owners.

All of the pertinant information, such as things not permitted in the ballpark, are posted along the side fencing.


Page left: Arrows guide visitors forward towards the seating sections up the stairs. Page right: Visitors must first pass by concission stands, strategically placed right next to the stairs leading up to the seats.

Once inside the entryway, one is

greeted by an overhead sign directing fans upwards towards seating, as well as to the side for concessions. Using typography as a main means to direct people around the stadium, the implication of arrows as typographic symbols make guiding people easier aas well as faster.


Using typography as a main means to direct people

around the stadium,

the implication of arrows as typographic symbols... As with pretty much any live entertainment, the real money is made not from admissions and tickets, but from merchandise and, especially at sports stadiums, concessions. Since ballpark goers may not have much of a choice in where they spend their food money here, the signs are simple and in just white and KU blue with the list of food and beverage set up in a very clear and functional manner.

“ outstanding ballpark to play in, one that would make the players, recruits, coaches, fans and students proud.�


“My vision is for Kansas to have a first-class baseball program. One of the big needs we had was to create an outstanding ballpark to play in, one that would make the players, recruits, coaches, fans and students proud. That need provided the incentive to give the gift to make the ballpark a reality. An innovative architectural design and a premier location on campus also helped us to meet that goal.� –Forrest E. Hoglund (Jayhawk Baseball Team 1954-56)

Upper left: Yard marking in the back left corner of the field. Upper right: Close-up of “3” from “330” Lower left: Field name stained into the astroturf on the side of the field. Lower right: Zoomed in view of KU’s signatiure extended “K” in the Trajan font. Page Right: View of the scoreboard from on the field below.

Almost every panel in the backfield sports some form of typogrpahy, from distance markings, to supporters’ logos, to just “KANSAS JAYHAWKS” just beneath the scoreboard. Typography on the field itself is different from most of the other type in that it doesn’t give its audience direction. It instead serves two purposes: to either allow the staidum game-goer to more accurately read the game being played (such as the distance markings on the top row) or simply to support team pride (such as the ballpark name in KU’s traditional Trajan font.


Gridiron Gang Kivisto Field at Memorial Stadium Being from the south, football is a big deal to me, and I’ve been to a lot of games; I therefore know my way around a football stadium. To many though, a place as big as a football stadium can seem overwhelming and easy to get lost in. The outside of Memorial Stadium is littered with not only directional signs and entrance markings, but also features several color coated diagrams. While most of the typography around stadiums is bold, this type, while still keeping in trend with the clean sans-serif, is lighter, allowing the viewer to use the coloring to make the connections. The lack of typogrpahy makes herding upwards of 40,000 people much more efficient.


Memorial Stadium is very closed off and features “No Trespassing� signs at every entrance.

Recognized as the first stadium built on a college campus west of the Mississippi River, Memorial Stadium is the seventh oldest collegiate stadium in the nation. Located at the north base of Mt. Oread at 11th and Maine streets in Lawrence, it has a capacity of 50,071.


A broad view of part of the student section seating. The numbers on page right correspond to numbers visitors find to help organize seating.


The hardest part of maneuvering through a football stadium is finding your seats. The color-coated diagrams help fans towards the general section.


Once inside, a fan can 1. find the sign for that section. These signs feature two bold numbers of the two different sec-


tions that can be accessed from a single staircase entrance. 2. On the other side of the entrance is another marker of section territories. This time the signs


are in red, making it easier to identify in the sea of seats. 3

& 4. The stairs

leading up the stands are all labeled by


row. Located on both the front of the step, as well as the top of each step is a stencil number, spray-painted to withstand being trampled by thousands of shoes. 5. Upon finding the correct row, since there are no individual seats, just rows of bleachers, each “spot” available to sit is labeled by a small black number.

“The hardest part of maneuvering through a football stadium is finding your seats.”


“The interior lining of the stadium is nothing but concession stands.�


“At the center of it all is the 50-yard line.�


Like the distance markers of the baseball field, a fan can track the progress of the game using the field hash marks and yard numbers. At the center of it all is the 50-yard line. While the common font for most everything else in the football stadium is Helvetica, the field markers appear to be a slightly altered Bodoni font. This can be classified for the round serif end of the 5 and the thick and extreme thin variation.

Beware of “The Phog” Allen Fieldhouse Allen Fieldhouse is somewhat of a landmark at the University of Kansas. It houses the gameplay of one of the great prides and traditons of the school: the Jayhawk basketball team. Naturally, the building not only sports the typical signage about no trespassing and where the ticket office is located, but it has it’s own monument to the man who started it all: “The Phog.” So despite not being allowed inside the actual fieldhouse not during a game, there’s still plenty of typography surrounding the arena on the outside.


The front entrance, marked by a large statue, is merely doors into

a merchandise store and Kansas basketball museum. What is first confusing about the fieldhouse is that the student entrance is on the opposite side of the building from the ticket office. Both of these locations are also found on the sides of the building while the front entrance, marked by a large statue, is merely doors into a merchandise store and Kansas basketball museum.


Outside of Allen Fieldhouse sprawls a large front lawn, adorned with a statue memorial site for the “father of basketball.�

“The best place in America to watch college basketball.” —Noted sportswriter Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register calls Allen Fieldhouse

A close up shot of the “Phog;s” statue, accompanied by notices posted on the glass doors of every entrance.


At the feet of the statue is engraved the names of all the people and familiers that helped support the rise of Naismith Court and Allen Fieldhouse.


At the feet of The Phog’s statue are engraved names of people that helped to found the athletic arena. This

method of engraving is unique because although the insides of the letters are tinted black, the names and messages rely heavily on the sun to create shadows inside the letterforms. One has to move

about the surface to read at different angles depending on the time of day. This does however allow one to figure out the solid sand colored lines create the markings

of a basketball.

CONCLUSION The public typography of a sports stadium is nothing more than an instruction booklet. It guides patrons in and out of its maze, and helps create a user fiendly track of the game. For such a bold purpose (literally - most of the fonts are bold,) the impact of this typography is subtle and overlooked by most visitors. What’s great about it though is that this typography was built tough, like the sports it helps to house, so it will be there for a while to come. Now next time you find yourself looking about to find your seats, you can take the time to appreciate the service this public typography is serving.


DESIGNER, AUTHOR, AND PHOTOGRAPHER Ashley Detmering CAMERA USED Canon 5D FONTS USED Univers and Baskerville SOURCES “Naming Places and Defining Spaces” by Phil Baines SPECIAL THANKS TO Patrick Monroe University of Kansas; Designer as Auther with Patrick Dooley

Reserved Seating  

A look at the public typography of some of KU sports stadiums.

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